Lester Wright is outrunning Father Time and the competition.
The sprinter, 100 years young, broke the world record for his age group in the men’s 100-meter at the Penn Relays in Philadelphia on Saturday. (Watch the FloTrack video below.)
“It was pretty nice to be able to do this at age 100,” Wright told the Asbury Park Press. “When I came here I was a little bit nervous, but when I saw the crowd and everything I fell right in with it.”
The centenarian received warm applause from the thousands at Franklin Field who also had reason to cheer the return of the venerable track meet after a pandemic hiatus, NJ.com noted.
Wright’s field included runners 80 years old and up, and was won by 84-year-old Bob Williamson.
But Wright’s time of 26.34 shattered the 100-104 age group record previously set by Donald Pellmann in 2015 at 26.99 seconds. Pellmann’s record still appeared on the USATF Masters World Record list as of Monday morning, but Wright’s record-winning time was ratified, according to the Asbury Park Press.
Of course, a 100-year-old sprinting at all is headline-worthy.
“I guess it’s really something that you don’t often hear about and it seems like it would be somewhat novel if I can get out there and really perform,” Wright, who turned 100 on Friday, told ABC in New York.
Wright, a track star at Long Branch High School in New Jersey in the 1930s who wed his teen sweetheart Adele (yep, still married after 80 years), also has made great strides in his community. He attended college on the GI bill and opened the first Black-owned dental lab in the area, manufacturing false teeth, according to the Asbury Park Press.
Fast-forward to the 5:00 mark for the race: